Appetite changes, nausea or vomiting

It is common for your appetite to change when you are going through chemotherapy. The drugs may also temporarily change how food tastes. Sometimes you may not feel hungry or you may prefer different types of food.

Chemotherapy can make you feel sick (nauseated) or cause you to vomit. Not everyone feels sick during or after chemotherapy, but if nausea affects you, it will usually start a few hours after treatment. Nausea may last for many hours and be accompanied by vomiting or retching. Sometimes nausea lasts for days after treatment.

Often the best way to manage nausea is to prevent it from starting. Anti-nausea (antiemetic) medicine helps most people, but finding the right one can take time. If nausea or vomiting continue after using the prescribed medicine, let your nurse or doctor know so that another medicine can be tried. Steroids may also be used to manage nausea.

Being unable to keep liquids down because of vomiting can cause you to become dehydrated. Signs of dehydration include a dry mouth and skin, dark urine, dizziness and confusion. It is not safe to be left alone if you are vomiting a lot, as the confusion may make it difficult to realise you have become seriously dehydrated.

    — Read more of Karen’s story

Learn more about managing:


Listen to our podcast on Appetite Loss and Nausea


Managing appetite loss

  • Eat what you feel like, when you feel like it. Have frequent snacks instead of large meals.
  • Try to eat extra on days when you have an appetite.
  • Avoid strong odours and cooking smells that may put you off eating. It might help to prepare meals ahead and freeze them for days you don’t feel like cooking.
  • If the taste of certain foods has changed, don’t force yourself to eat them. Your sense of taste should return to normal after treatment ends.
  • If you don’t feel like eating solid foods, try enriching your drinks with powdered milk, yoghurt, eggs or honey.
  • Don’t use nutritional supplements without your doctor’s advice, as some could interfere with treatment.
  • Ask a dietitian for advice on the best eating plan during treatment and recovery.

Managing nausea

  • Eat a light, bland meal before your treatment (e.g. soup with dry biscuits, crackers or toast).
  • Keep sipping fluids so that you don’t get dehydrated. If you aren’t able to keep fluids down, contact your doctor or hospital immediately. They may be able to treat the vomiting, or you may need  to have fluids through an intravenous drip in hospital.
  • Sip fluids throughout the day. Sucking on ice cubes, iceblocks or jellies can also increase your fluid intake. If water tastes unpleasant, flavour it with ginger cordial or syrup.
  • If your stomach is upset, try drinking fizzy drinks such as soda water or dry ginger ale.
  • If you wake up feeling sick, eat a dry biscuit or slice of toast rather than skipping food.
  • Listen to the The Thing About Cancer podcast episode on appetite loss and nausea.

      — Helen


Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on Chemotherapy.


Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in August 2018
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